Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement today announced the arrest of a Naples couple in connection with a drug diversion scheme fueled by Medicaid fraud. According to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and FDLE investigation, Francisco Calderon, 53, and his wife Zulima Calderon, 51, trafficked more than $3.9 million of contraband prescription drugs between 2005 and 2013.
“This massive scheme to sell millions of dollars’ worth of contraband prescription drugs and exploit our Medicaid program has been shut down thanks to the great work of my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, my Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,” said Attorney General Bondi.
“Medicaid fraud cases are complex and time consuming and I appreciate the hard work of the investigators on this case,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “The Calderon’s not only stole money from taxpayers, they are also responsible for tens of thousands of illegal prescription drugs flooding the streets in the Southeastern United States.”
The Calderons did not have a license to engage in wholesaling pharmaceuticals and allegedly used their Florida-based corporation, All Technician Specialty, Inc. to launder money from the sales of contraband pharmaceuticals to a previously charged co-defendant Jorge Castillo. In 2013, authorities arrested Castillo for involvement in the scheme and Castillo is now serving 25 years in prison. For more information on Castillo’s sentencing, click here.
According to the investigation, the couple used illegal profits to purchase homes in Naples and Miramar for hundreds of thousands of dollars each. At the time of the arrests, Attorney General Bondi’s Office seized the Miramar property pursuant to Florida’s civil racketeering laws.
Francisco and Zulima Calderon each face one count of trafficking in contraband prescription drugs, Medicaid fraud, organized scheme to defraud and money laundering, all first-degree felonies. Each count is punishable up to 30 years in prison. Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is prosecuting the case.
The Calderons are the 37th and 38th persons charged or convicted since 2010 by the Attorney General’s task force targeting Medicaid-related drug diversion. Since 2010, the task force has seized close to $10 million in cash and property and more than $7 million of contraband pharmaceuticals off the streets. Additionally, task force investigators assisted law enforcement efforts in similar cases in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. The combined amount of fraud perpetrated by these individuals in Florida is estimated to be more than $250 million.
The Florida Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state’s Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida’s taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi’s MFCU has obtained more than $689 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program.